Fall, what a wonderful time of year.
Fall is my favorite time of year. From the time I was a tot to now, I enjoy the fall.
When the weather starts to turn cool, my pace quickens. I take a deep breath and realize that I have survived another year.
When I was a child, the fall meant long car rides with my parents.
They went out looking for farms that sold everything from corn to meat, such as chicken, lamb and beef. My father liked a farm that was up in the northern tip of Montgomery County, Md. I don't remember the name of the farm, but today it is part of a housing community.
When we drove out to the farm we would spend the day. The farm had two barns as well as several chicken coops.
Behind the farm house was a small vineyard that grew large black grapes. The farmer would allow you to pick bunches of them, and my mother got a bagful. The ones that fell on the ground were free for us kids to pick up and eat.
The farmer had both a peach and an apple orchard. My father would by a bushel of each and, of course, I would sampled that fruit.
Corn, green beans, tomatoes - my family bought them all. After they had bought enough food to last a winter, which it never did, the farmer's wife would ask if we liked ice cream. We went up on her porch, and there stood three buckets with a crank handle on top.
"If you want your ice cream you'll have to help make it," she always said.
The bucket was full of ice with a cylinder in the middle. You cranked the handle, and it seemed like it took forever until the top was unscrewed. Then there was the ice cream.
The other thing I remember and loved was the apple cider. It was tangy and cold. I drank it by the glassful.
As the afternoon wore on, we were all offered a hayride around some of the fields and through the woods.
The colors of the trees were beautiful. The leaves were bright red or a mixture of red and yellow. Some were brown or almost black. It was like riding through an enchanted forest. The fields smelled of fresh cut hay or wheat.
Speaking of hay, one thing I enjoyed was jumping from the beams of the barn onto mounds of fresh cut hay. It was a lot of fun.
The farm also had tire swings and a huge tree that you could climb.
On the way home there was one other stop that we made. It way a place called "MD's" or "Chicken in the Rough." This was long before KFC or other fast food places.
My father would order a huge platter of chicken and string fried potatoes and we would all pig out.
Driving home after a day in the country, I would fall asleep listing to the hum of the tires hitting the road.